Friday, January 29, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

No, It Couldn't Be...

No, it couldn't be. It was just one of my really blonde ones, right? My husband laughed, mockery and vengeance mixed together. I concentrated on the glare beaming off his chrome dome.

That afternoon I had a hair appointment. We chatted about all the normal things: kids, school the holidays...but the whole time I was thinking, "Can she see it? Was it real? Did he really find one?"

"So my husband thinks he found a white hair. Do you see any?"

Oh, yes, she saw one...then several more. But I was not to worry. I was lucky. It would blend in, somewhat, with my blonde hues. Besides, I was going straight from blonde to white, no graying for me. I smiled, "Yeah, that's better than gray. White is pretty." Secretly I was devastated. My plan was to not see gray or white hair until at least 40. I had always remained young looking, if only in my mind. Surely my hair would cooperate.

When I first started teaching middle school I would intentionally introduce myself to the bus drivers on our field trips so that they wouldn't be wondering where the teacher was.

I was a late bloomer growing up, the shortest in my sixth-grade class. I liked my role of being the youngest. I liked looking youthful. I liked being carded: the best compliment.

My dreams and hopes of retaining my youth were dashed as I sat in that beautician's chair. It was happening. My body was growing older, not younger. And it is not just my hair. I also have this little item dubbed the "muffin top." I keep thinking and hoping it'll go away, but after three babies I think it might become a permanent feature.

Luckily I still feel beautiful...actually more beautiful than I've ever felt before. This says much about my husband.

Still, I find myself moving further and further away from the "ideal" age of beauty and it stings a bit. Yet I would never want to go back. I'm learning to love my new, wider hips; my skin that isn't quite youthful as it once was; and maybe soon I'll even begin to anticipate the new white hairs mixed in with my blonde locks of youth.

I don't really want to fight it. I want to be fully what I am, and for now it is a mom who is not only adored by my husband, but my three little boys. I wouldn't change that for any age.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Holding Doubts Loosely

I'm learning to hold doubts loosely. I'm learning to accept and rest in my cycles of, "Oh my goodness...I've been had!"

I'm cycling out of one of those times, once again. Each time I question God, seek out Truth, and cycle back around to the mountain of trust in him increases.

I was afraid to ask for more faith and trust because in me there is this fear that when I do ask, something horrible and bad is going to happen. (This is not scriptural, just a fear of mine.) I found myself fighting the urge to ask for more faith, but then I remembered that God is not a God of fear, so I did it.

Wow, did he answer fast this time. And so far nothing has fallen out of the sky and hit me over the head.

You have all heard people say that Jesus was a good teacher, but not the Son of God. But really, if he wasn't the Son of God he was a total freak and a lunatic. Who would ever walk around and claim to be God...especially someone who knew the scriptures like Jesus did because he was raised in a traditional Jewish home. Basically either he was God or he was a fruit and you can't pick the middle ground of him being a good teacher. AND, how could a man make all of that up with complete genius and consistency. Eventually a man would mess up and be found out, but HE continues to be consistent and a fulfillment of prophecy in his life and message on earth.

I'm currently doing a study on John, and it is fast becoming my favorite gospel. I just like that guy, like his perspective, and love his emphasis on the Word.

Some scriptures that have assisted in my latest cycle are:

John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. Woe, did you catch that?

John 18:5,6

"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said. (Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.

I am. Remember in Exodus when God declared his name to Moses? That is what Jesus is saying and look....the soldier drew back and fell to the ground. I'd never noticed that before. They must have seen the presence of God, why else would you fall to the ground?

AND, strangely enough a book discussion on The Kite Runner confirmed my faith. I find great confirmation in non-Christian writings from writers who observe TRUTH. (The Truth observed: the power of sin to corrupt and ruin man. We are all capable of evil, not just the Taliban. Our evil can be the evil of silence, non-action, etc. Until we experience forgiveness we will be changed to our sin choices.)

(Note: This was scary to put out there as this is the most open I've been to my unknown readers.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rain Stomper-Onomatopoeia

If you love the sound of words than Rain Stomper is for you. As I read it to my sons I really do hear the rain coming down and the rage of the young girl stomping on the rain as the rains has stomped on her expectations for the day...the canceled parade.

The pictures are a visual complement to the sounds of the words.

Here are some of my favorites:

"Slap clatter clatter slap! Rain poured down in buckets. Boom walla boom boom! Thunder rattled the bricks in the walls. Clink Clink Whoosh! The wind plunged her family back into their beds. Even the weeds slunk back into the earth."

Don't you love that visual of the weeds hiding in the earth...sliding themselves back into the sidewalk cracks?

This book is musical rhythm.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Things You Would Have Said

Jackie Hooper is a writer who is putting together an anthology called The Things You Would Have Said. It is full of letters from individuals who never got the chance to tell people in life/in person what they wish they would have. (I think if you go to her site you can read about how you can submit your own letter.)

Months ago Jackie asked me to submit something to her collection, and I did. Eventually, it'll appear in book form, but she let me know that yesterday it was featured on her site.

So, check it out. It is to my grandmother who is still living but with dementia. I wrote about this a few months ago, but was not allowed to post the exact letter I'd submitted to the anthology. But now you can actually read the original on her site.

I wonder how my letter would be different if I had written it today, with the knowledge that my grandfather is no longer alive. He died in October.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Five Years?

Has it really been five years? I've been doing this for five years? In roughly a month I began my journey as MOM. That is frightening because I would think after doing this for that long I would feel a bit more confident with myself in this role. But the thing is...the variables keep changing.

Right when I think I have one of them figured out they change on me. New layers in their personalities emerge. Just the other night my husband confirmed my feelings, "I think I need to read that boy book again. (The Little Boy Book.) Seems like our oldest is changing and needing something more...more than just feeling loved, nurtured, and feeling secure."

Yep, he is right. Our soon-to-be-five-year-old is shifting again on us. There isn't anything baby or toddler left in him. He's all boy: this is a new frontier for us.

I was just feeling good about myself as a mom when it came to babies. I walk with confidence with my youngest on my hip. When he tries out his new found skill at temper tantrums I just laugh, remaining calm because I know this too shall pass. But this "boy" thing, this elementary school adventure we are about to embark on....this is new.

Our oldest continues his role of breaking us in. Our middle continues his role at helping us work out the kinks, and our youngest continues to reap the benefits. Birth order, a powerful thing. There is no real way to avoid it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

God-Sighting 9,455-Baptism

"But why are you going to get baptized tomorrow?"

"Well, because I love Jesus, and I want others to know that. I want those in our church to know that I know I have sinned, and that I've confessed that to Jesus, and that he's forgiven me."

My son spoke, "Well, I love Jesus too. I want to be baptized too."

This was the conversation that my husband and my oldest had the night before my husband was baptized for the first time at age 34. Being that old might not seem unusual unless you know that my husband committed his life and his life choices to Christ at age 18. Most Christians might be baffled by the time span between his confession of faith and choice to be baptized.

Some of my readers will not be shocked by that time span, but actually might be more surprised that he choice to be baptized. You see, my husband was raised as a Quaker, and until last year had always gone to a Quaker church. I love this about my husband. His expression and view of God was one of the things I found most attractive about him when I first met him in college. He challenged my views as a Christian and he confirmed many of the TRUTHS I was taught as a child by my mother who was also raised as a Christian Quaker.

God is our Light and our joy. We cherish the many TRUTHS that we learned by our fellowship with other Quakers, but we also rejoice that God has moved us to a different place of worship where our understanding of God's Truth is being expanded. That is why my husband decided to be baptized this last week. The time was right.

I believe my husband's act of baptism will be a huge spiritual marker for our four-year-old. He was giddy all Sunday morning. He couldn't wait to get to church, my son not my husband. :) (But maybe my husband too.)

During the worship my son seemed a bit agitated. He kept walking to the front and then returning to our seats near the back. Finally I knelt down beside him and asked him what he wanted, why was he going up front and then coming back to where we were sitting?

"I just want to see Daddy get baptized."

I smiled, "Do you want to go up with Daddy?"

He nodded.

My husband held his hand and assured him that he'd get to go up front.

The pastor spoke.

My husband went up, and in his large hand rested my son's small one.

My son stood as close as he could to the baptismal without getting baptized himself. He saw it all. He heard his daddy's testimony. He listened. He saw. A God-sighting.

My heart rejoiced. I'm glad my husband waited. He waited. He listened. A God-sighting. He sensed the Holy Spirit. He responded, and I know God's perfect timing was at work.

God is good....all the time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday: Picture Post

I'm thinking of starting a picture post on Fridays. Just a picture, no words....or at least a few. So, here is goes. Please do not expect anything terribly artistic or deep.

2009: Year of The Boot

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh, It Was A Good Decade


Oh, but it was a good decade. It was. It wasn't evil, anymore evil than any other. If the Great Recession hadn't happened would so many people be complaining about the last ten years....regardless of world events. We Americans have a habit of only complaining when something directly effects our immediate happiness.

And so, here's is to this last decade! It just happened to be my best one yet. Sure, it wasn't easy. No way. It was hard. It was stretching. I grew into my role as adult, and being an adult means that I have to fix my own messes and stop passing the blame. I ate the fruit; Eve did not make me.

I am fully admitting that this blog is a blatant copy of a good friend. So here is her link and you must read hers since she did it first. (I let her know I was doing this.) Her blog is called The Short Years.

We bought our first home! This home represents our firsts: first remodel job, first flooded basement, first neighbors, first mortgage/debt, first vandalism, first "city" living, first nursery(baby), first garden(plants), first backyard bbq's.......first stress and first place of rest and peace. My memories abound. When we decided to buy it I could see a little boy, naked, running on its oak floors after a bath. It was here, in the kitchen, that I starting my tutoring business. It was here that I learned to cook. It was here that I planned school lessons, graded papers, wrote my first novel(ha!), and dreamed of vacations and other things to come. It was in our home that my husband and I grew from our discord and our harmony. I wouldn't change and thing.

In this last decade I went to Georgia, twice. Georgia is a piece of my husband. It is where his mother grew up. It is the place of Grandma Daisy and all that means.

This decade also represents careers and jobs and choices. I saw my dream of being a teacher come true. I loved all my classes, all my students. I learned and grew from all my successes and failures as a teacher. My first class is now in their 20's. I was a very young teacher, 21-years-old. My husband went from youth ministry, to going back to school to get his Masters in Teaching. Oh, those were the lean we thought at the time. We were working toward a goal, and we achieved it.

These pictures are of one of my classes and a group shot of Tween Camp, which we directed for four years. I loved my years in youthwork. We had a lot of fun building relationships with other youthworkers and the kids. This was also the decade of Quakers. I evaluated my beliefs and felt affirmed in my relationship with Christ. I received healing from a bad church split that happened in my teen years.

This last decade was a lot about us, my husband and I. We waited 6 years before we had our oldest, and we lived those six years up. We loved finding fun new places to eat in Portland, listening to music, going to the beach on a whim, trying new things, and traveling. We went somewhere every spring break and every summer. I do miss traveling like we used to, but I am enjoying the shift from 20's travel to family travel. Here are some pics of some of our adventures.

But, the best part of the decade started in 2005. We went from two to three to four to five.

We moved from all we knew and took a step of faith, based on our listening and trusting God. We moved back to the farm. It is good. So much good has come in these last two years: good job for my husband, unique relationship with my parents who live 100 feet to our east, being part of an authentic church community who is enthusiastic about God's truth, friends....the list goes on.

Even the passing my my grandfather was a blessing in this past decade.

I give thanks to God, and I anticipate what the next will bring. After all, by the end of the next one I will be the mother to three teenage boys.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Isn't Over on December 26th

We still have January and February to go. My middle son reminds me everyday when we walk outside, "It is still winter. It is Monday." I guess Monday equals winter in his mind. It'll be a long Monday then.

There is a tendency to clean up the Christmas decor and think spring is soon to arrive, but it isn't. Our chances of snow and ice still exist, and that is why I'm excited to share these three children's books with you!

Love, love, love this book. It has beautiful pictures, great word images, and a touch of humor that is perfect and engaging for the preschool mind! Sebastian Meschenmoser is the author. His first book is titled Learning to Fly, and I'm planning to put it on hold at the library.

Basically three woodland friends are waiting for the first snow to arrive, but none of them have seen it....they know that "snow is white and wet and cold and soft." They come up with all sorts of clever things to pass the time as they wait for the first sign of snow. Finally they are sure they've found the first snowflake. But have they?

My other two favorite winter stories are quite old. Katy and The Big Snow was published in 1943 and White Snow Bright Snow was first printed in 1947. These are must haves for a true lover of children's books. Both are art in illustrations and in words. They capture the essence of snow and its anticipation and joy perfectly. I get all giddy and excited when I read these two to my children. And even though they are a bit wordy, compared to many of today's reads, they hold my sons' attentions and capture something lost in this new age of busy.

I'm bummed I was unable to share images from these books with you, so please follow the links. And please, check them out at your local library. I'm sad to return mine tomorrow.

Hoping for piles of the white stuff!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 Calendar Farm Quotes Continues

"Trade increases the wealth and glory of a country; but is real strength and stamina are to be looked for among the cultivators of the land." William Pitt

"I know of not pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than my improving its agriculture." George Washington

"When tillage begins, and other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founds of human civilization." Daniel Webster

"The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn't still be a farmer." Will Rogers

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the cornfield." Dwight D. Eisenhower.

"Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can't hurry the crops or make an ox in two days." Henri Alain

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Calendar

Remember those black and white calendars that featured kids doing romantic things, all dressed up and carrying colored red roses? Yep, had one of those. I also had a Norman Rockwell calendar that I loved. My son gets his first calendar this year; he actually requested this. How can a mother deny that request? So, my mom found the perfect NRA sponsored calendar from my deceased Grandfather's pile. Now, I am not a fan nor member of the NRA, but it does have perfect boy pictures on it. Each month features another dog with his boy. (Oh, and a strategically placed gun.) I'm holding the whole gun/weapon thing loosely these days: I have boys. Boys seem strangely drawn toward weapons. All of our current weapons are made of plastic. Note: I'm pretty sure this calendar is not going to send my son down a path of violence.

OK, that was a lot of blabber just to say that I have a new favorite calendar this year put out by the Oregon Farm Bureau. The farmer in me sings. Each month mirrors the seasons outside my window. April=tulips. May=orchard blossoms. June=berries. You get the idea.

The best part are the quotes that accompany each month. Here are my favorites:

"The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of the land." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to the real wealth, good morals, and happiness." Thomas Jefferson

"I had rather be on my farm than be the emperor of the world." George Washington

"Life on a cattle ranch...was a fine, healthy life; it taught a man self-reliance, hardihood, and the value of instant decision." Theodore Roosevelt

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways." JFK

"If you tickle the earth with a hoe, she laughs with a harvest." Douglas William Jerrold

OK, so I basically like them all. I'll make the other quotes another blog post. Keep it short, and hopefully you'll read them all.